An Unknown Treasure
A ring bought at a hospital car boot sale for £10 was today sold for a staggering £656,750 – after it turned out to be a 26 carat diamond. The lady owner snapped up the ring in the 1980s after assuming it was a decorative costume jewel. She wore it regularly, carrying out mundane daily chores and earlier this year decided it was time to have it valued.
The eyes of the experts at Sotheby’s lit up when they saw it – identifying it as as 26.27 carat, cushion-shaped diamond with a value of £250,000 to £350,000. Sotheby’s auctioned it in London on Wednesday and, following a fierce bidding war, it ended up selling for a £656,750. This was 65,670 times the price paid at the car boot sale held in the 1980s at West Middlesex Hospital, west London.
Bidding opened up at £240,000 and quickly passed the upper estimate. It soon shot past £500,000 with bidders battling it out in the saleroom for the unusual gem, dubbed The Tenner Diamond. The hammer eventually smashed down at £540,000, with the winning bidder paying a whopping £656,750 including buyer’s premium and VAT.The diamond ring’s history has been shrouded in mystery, with very little known of its provenance.
However, industry expert Tobias Kormind, who runs 77Diamonds.com, is ‘convinced’ the ring would have once been owned by royalty or extreme wealth. He said: ‘It originates from the 1800s – before the discovery of modern diamond mines and a time when very few diamonds were available. ‘Several diamond dealers have already inspected this diamond to assess how large a modern cut diamond can be made from it. ‘The new owner is likely to re-cut it into a modern diamond that will emit even more sparkle and potentially be worth a multiple of the Sotheby’s estimate.’ The auction house’s head of London jewellery department, Jessica Wyndham, said: ‘The owner would wear it out shopping, wear it day-to-day. It’s a good looking ring. ‘But it was bought as a costume jewel. No-one had any idea it had any intrinsic value at all. They enjoyed it all this time.’ She told the Press Association: ‘They’d been to quite a few car boot sales over the years. But they don’t have any history of collecting antiques and they don’t have any history of collecting diamonds. This is a one-off windfall, an amazing find.’
Read more at: Daily Mail